Grant helps provide Guilford County 5th-graders with tablets

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Millions of Americans have constant access to a computer at their fingertips through their smartphones, but some children in the Piedmont-Triad don't have access to computers for the first time until middle school.

A teacher in High Point wanted to change that and a grant from the High Point Community Foundation is making sure those same students are now getting ahead.

Science class at Fairview Elementary School just got a whole lot more hands-on.

“It’s different because this time we get to do it on a laptop instead of on a board and a piece of paper," said fifth-grader Azael Luciano.

Thirty-three new tablets are now front-and-center in Ashley Baughman's classroom.

“They love them so far. They get so excited when it’s tablet time," she said.

Her fifth-grade students are taking charge of their learning by watching videos, reading passages, and taking in the lessons at their own pace.

“It’s really fun. We get to learn about new things and watch videos about it," Azael said.

“The technology is like a second teacher for me," said student Makia Rush. "It’s helped me understanding more, like when we are like on a video, it’ll be like people talking to me, but not on the laptop. It’s like talking to me, like in person.”

The tablets come with a $22,000 price tag, so Baughman wrote a grant asking for help from the High Point Community Foundation to help prepare her students for the next step.

“When we get in middle school, we’re gonna have our laptop and we’ll be doing most of our work on it," Rush said.

“It’s very important to us that students are learning science through technology, because technology is a growing field in all jobs that we see now, so it’s important to us that our kids in the elementary stage are getting hands-on experience," Baughman said.

Most of the children in Baughmans' classrooms don't have access to computers at home and many of them weren't confidence navigating the technology before.

“A lot of them that normally wouldn’t wouldn’t raise their hands and try to answer questions are now trying to answer questions, and they’re getting them right, so it also boosts their confidence and makes them more excited to come to science," Baughman said.

The tablets are opening up a new world for these students both in and outside of the classroom.

“That also gives them the opportunity to see things outside of High Point," Baughman said. "A lot of them only know High Point. They don’t know what lays outside for them.”

The other students at Fairview also get to use the tablets in science class. Fifth graders come in twice a week and kindergarten through fourth graders visit Baughman's class twice a week.